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Afresh bags $115M to extend fresh food premise

Aug 17, 2022
Illustration hands juggling fruit and gold coins.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Afresh’s fresh food software platform got a $115 million vote of confidence earlier this month in a Series B round led by Spark Capital.

Why it matters: The nine-figure injection signals wider interest in food waste technologies as food retailers try to reduce their costs, keep their shelves stocked and curb food waste overall.

Details: Insight Partners, VMG Partners, Bright Pixel Capital and former Whole Foods co-CEO Walter Robb participated in the round.

What they’re saying: “This segment of fresh food within retail and supply chain technology has been so underpenetrated that there's just a massive opportunity there,” CEO Matt Schwartz tells Axios.

  • Around 84% of grocery retailers have plans to invest in food waste technologies over the next two years, a Coresight Research survey finds.

How it works: The company’s store level ordering system helps grocers get a glimpse of their inventory, and through predictive analytics helps them accurately forecast what foods customers are going to buy.

  • Retailers can manage their food waste by giving them better data and insight into how much they should order.
  • The company has signed up over 3,000 stores so far of which around 1,500 are currently live.

What’s next: The company hopes to expand the store footprint of its produce tool by 10x to 15x “within a short window of time,” Schwartz says.

  • Afresh also plans to expand into other fresh food categories. Within the next 18 months, it plans to launch solutions for meat and seafood, deli, bakery food service and prepared foods at the store level.
  • The company also intends to move from store level ordering to distribution center level ordering. That means “ordering truckload level quantities of food, in addition to case double quantities of food at the store level,” Schwartz says.

Yes, and: The company is eyeing international markets, with Europe very likely next in the short term, Schwartz says.

State of play: Among its current customers, Schwartz expects Afresh to help prevent at least 34 million pounds of produce food waste annually by the end of this year

  • And once the company rolls out into meat and seafood and the rest of the fresh food category, Schwartz expects Afresh can triple that footprint, he says.

The bottom line: “The ambition would be to prevent billions of pounds of food waste on an annual basis with our customers,” Schwartz says.

  • While eliminating food waste is a key priority, Schwartz says, “the bigger theme of what we're doing is driving this fresh food future.”
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